Sygarus romanzoffiana (Queen Palm)

Popular for their tropical ornamental appearance, Queen Palms are rapid-growing palms that can be extremely prolific after flowering. Unfortunately, these require a large amount of rainfall and are susceptible to nutritional deficincies and fatal fungal diseases.

Syargus romanzoffina (Queen Palm)
Family: Arecaceae
Subspecies: none known
Native: South America (Brazil, Bolivia)
Hardiness Zones: 9B-11
Height: to 15 meters
Diameter: to 7 meters
Root System: fibrous, shallow
Growth Rate: relatively rapid (by palm standards) once established, up to 9 fronds per year and 1 meter of vertical growth
Age: begins flowering earliest at 6 years old, commonly  to 20 years old
Deciduous: no
Monoecious/dioecious: monoecious
Monocot/dicot: monocot

Tolerates: drought tolerance (moderate), salt tolerant (slightly), unaffected by lethal yellowing restraints
Problems (major): Palms suffer many nutritional deficiencies, including necrotic/curling/chlorotic leaveflet tips (Potassium (K) deficiency), yellow/chlorotic leaves (Iron (FE) deficiencies or alkaline soils), andcleaf shape distortion or improper direction of growth (Boron (B) deficiency). Ganoderma butt rot kills base of trunk and eventually entire plant (Ganoderma zonatum fungus, fruiting body (conk) appear prior to death). Theilaviopsis trunk rot (Theilavopsis paradoxa, fungus) soft rots trunk
just beneath crown if an open wound is present. Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum sp. palmarum, fungus) kills old petioles and leaflets first before rapidly moving onto new leaves and becoming fatal. The three fungal diseases are wind-dispersed and may be transmitted by using contaminated tools.
Problems (minor): palm leaf skeletonizer, mites, scale, fares poorly in very dry environments (such as Arizona)
Poisonous: non-toxic
Soil requirements: requires neutral to acidic, loamy to sandy, and well-drained soils
Air requirements: requires moderate humidity, fares poorly in deserts
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: full sun or nearly full sun necessary
Leaves: pinnate, feather-shaped, drooping/arching, dark green, serve as a Potassium/K source once dead, to 200 leaflets per leaf, leaf to 4.5m, leaflet lanceolate to 90 cm
Flower structure: very dense, cream/white-colored plumes/panicles, individual flowers to 1cm
Flowering frequency: spring-early summer
Fruit: round to ovate, bright orange, to 3 centimeters, extremely prolific, occurring in large clusters up to 45 kilograms containing up to 1,000 seeds
Seeds: various rates of germination after 6-24 weeks after soaking in water for 2 days
Trunk: light gray, to 37 centimeters
Form: tall, slender, with arching crown
Notable characteristics:
This is on of the fastest growing juvenile palm species commercially sold today.

These are popular ornamental palms despite their susceptibility to fatal fungal infections and ailments caused by alkaline soil or nutrient deficiencies.
Sources used:

Roughly 5 meter tall S. romanzoffiana, grown by SIUC life science greenhouse manager

Trunk, surface roots visible



Upper trunk
Queen Palm in New Orleans
Arching leaves

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.



Filed under Plant Analysis

2 responses to “Sygarus romanzoffiana (Queen Palm)

  1. James Ashburn

    The base (trunk) of one of my queen palms is pealed back, exposing dryed up roots. What has caused this? It looks really bad! The rest of the tree seems ok. Is there anything I can do to repair it, or make it look better? Thanks for any advice you might have on this!

    • Palms do something rather odd as they age. As an adaptation to sandy soils and possible flooding from natural disasters, the trunks are pushed out of their substrate considerably to avoid possible rot. Your palm is probably doing this as a natural reaction to aging, although it can look unsightly and be problematic for growing.

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